Cute girls doing cute things is usually what Doga Kobo animates so any time they do something outside their M.O. raises an eyebrow out of me. And Sing “Yesterday” for Me is definitely an outlier for them — a romantic drama whose manga source ran for eighteen years from 1997 to 2015. Suffice to say, I’m curious about this show.
In contrast to the mystique, the premise is actually very modest. Rikuo Uozumi (Chikahiro Kobayashi) is a college graduate working part-time at a convenience store, discontent about where he’s at in life but unsure of what do about it. In the meantime, two pivotal encounters happen to him that set the story in motion. First is a supposed chance meeting with a young, eccentric girl named Haru Nonaka (Yume Miyamoto). The second is a reunion with his classmate and crush from college, Shinako Morinome (Kana Hanazawa).
Right off the bat, I find the principal cast pretty compelling characters. Rikuo particularly stands out to me; I just really relate with his current dilemma. Haru however makes the most interesting inclusion in the cast. Whereas Rikuo and Shinako act as any young adult would, Haru is so obviously trying to pass as someone older than she is with how flirtatious she acts and how big she talks. Even the fact that she owns a crow, random as it is, feels like something she’s doing because she thinks that’s what an adult, or at least a really cool one, would do.
With where each character currently is in life, the future appears to be a major topic in the story. Rikuo is unsure about his. Shinako has secured a job as a high school teacher and is set for the time being. Haru is a high school dropout (that she was Shinako’s student is too deliberate of a detail) but she isn’t too concerned about the future, presumably because she’s too young and naive to feel that way.
Part of me hesitate to say there’s a love triangle in the works but the framework is there. Rikuo has feelings towards Shinako though when he musters the courage to confess, we learn that Shinako doesn’t reciprocate them. Haru on the other hand seems pretty smitten with Rikuo, falling for him five years ago in a chance encounter and having changed her look in order to get him to notice him.
I really like the look of Yesterday. Say what you will about Doga Kobo’s track record, that studio does do pretty solid art and animation. Honestly, I started to forget that it’s them animating this. Typically, an anime animated by them usually incorporates a colorful and warm aesthetic but this show looks considerably colder and more muted. It fits though as this story is a lot more serious than what the studio usually does and not the least bit moe.
Overall, this is a very solid premiere, probably one of the best of the season even. I’m not sure if I’ll continue blogging about the show but I am very interested to see where it goes.
ED: “Kago no Naka ni Tori” by yourness
Thanks for reading!
Watch Sing “Yesterday” for Me on Crunchyroll